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Star Trek TNG - Season 3 - Episode 05

Star Trek TNG - 3x05 - The Bonding

Originally Aired: 1989-10-23

The ship's archeologist is killed. [DVD]

My Rating - 4

Fan Rating Average - 3.89

Rate episode?

Rating: 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10
# Votes: 43 8 16 22 26 17 24 16 12 11 2


- According to this episode, Worf lost his parents to a battle when he was six and Wesley lost his father when he was "younger than Jeremy" was in this episode.

Remarkable Scenes
- Picard's horrified expression when Troi mentioned Aster had a son.
- Worf's Klingon ceremonies.
- Picard's speech about his objections to having children aboard ship.
- I love Riker and Data's conversation regarding the depth of losses depending on who's killed.
- Worf's reaction to a death under his command.
- Jeremy's cat, Patches. Such a great name for a cat that looks like that.
- Man I want a cat as affectionate as Patches.
- Picard to fake Lt. Aster: "What you're offering him is a memory. Something to cherish, not to live in."
- Wesley lashing out at Picard and Picard taking it so well.
- The whole ending was nicely orchestrated and touching.

My Review
We get great tidbits regarding Klingon culture in this episode thanks to Worf's reaction to Lt. Aster's death. An energy life form with a guilt trip. I enjoyed the dialog between fake Lt. Aster and Picard regarding the nature of human existence. Consequently thanks to the events, this turns out to be one of the better children centric episodes, and the R'uustai between Jeremy Aster and Worf was appropriate and touching.

The following are comments submitted by my readers.

  • From DSOmo on 2007-07-08 at 8:27pm:
    - From the time Troi senses trouble to the moment Dr. Crusher declares Aster dead, only about thirty seconds have passed. There are no resuscitation attempts and no efforts to get Aster stabilized. Was Aster not worth the effort?
    - It's no wonder that the energy beings think Jeremy won't be cared for. Shortly after Picard tells him about his mother's death, we watch Jeremy in his quarters. He is there alone, watching old movies of his mom. This concept of Jeremy being alone continues throughout the episode. Does this seem right? This kid has lost his only surviving parent, and everyone stays away. He is only twelve. Shouldn't someone be staying close by to help him through this time?
    - Who shot the old home movies Jeremy watches? It couldn't be his father. If it was, Jeremy hasn't aged in five years.
    - At the end of the episode, Worf says a Klingon phrase. Jeremy asks what it means, and Worf explains. Then Jeremy repeats the complete phrase! Jeremy must be quite a linguist. Do you really think a twelve-year-old boy could repeat that phrase after hearing it only once?
  • From CAlexander on 2011-04-28 at 8:20am:
    The idea of showing what happens when a crewmember dies is interesting. And I like Picard's discussion with the entity at the very end. Otherwise, this episode is adequate but not particularly inspired.
  • From Rydeen on 2011-08-20 at 4:40pm:
    I really liked this episode, it was quite touching. I gave it a seven, I really liked that the alien lifeform didn't turn out to be malicious, just very different. On the other hand, I think I will never get to like engergy lifeforms and their "powers", they're just so contrived.
    One thing that puzzles me is that Geordi mentioned that the explosives were just recently put there "to be found". But there's no follow up to this whatsoever and it goes unexplained. So why do it in the first place? That seems like really shoddy writing.

    I'd also like to address DSOmo's points:
    1. It's not that she "wasn't worth the effort", it's just that her injuries were to severe and they had to proclaim her dead. Not a flaw at all.
    2. You have to give children some space in such a situation. I'm sure he wasn't alone all the time, but it would also be a mistake to have someone there all the time. Not a flaw either.
    3. Well, that's a little movie mistake really. Though you could reason that it was a friend of the family, an uncle, etc. However, in the end, it was a movie mistake ;)
  • From AnalogyShark on 2011-09-20 at 2:43pm:
    In response to Rydeen's comment about the explosives being dug up, I took that as the energy lifeforms dug them out of the ground and disarmed them. They didn't want any more harm to come from the old war, and were probably upset that the mines had harmed someone. As to why the waited, energy lifeforms probably don't fear explosive devices, so it hadn't occurred to them to disarm them till they saw the enterprise crew harmed by them.
  • From Inga on 2012-01-14 at 8:12am:
    When Geordi increased the power of the shield and the contact with the energy being was lost for the fist time, why didn't Picard order to leave the planet right away? Didn't he think the energy being would make another attempt to reach them?
  • From Alex on 2020-08-22 at 4:52am:
    There is one small problem, it's just cosmetic. When they scan the planet upon detecting an energy signature (~18:30 mark), you can see it is very obviously Mars and its Valles Marineris.
  • From Azalea Jane on 2021-07-28 at 6:10pm:
    "Maybe if we felt any loss as keenly as we felt the death of one close to us, human history would be a lot less bloody." I love how Data's questions prompt humans into self-reflection.

    The episode was a little bit of a slog until the confrontation between Picard and the energy being. That whole scene was quite moving. One thing I love about Star Trek is that, even though it's part sci-fi space adventures, it's also human drama. This scene served as character development for several of the show's leads, and would not have been as powerful if we had not already learned a good deal about Worf, Picard, and both Crushers. This (second-to) last scene almost makes up for the weird pacing of the rest of the episode. Unfortunately, a la Trek, we never hear from Jeremy again, even though he's supposedly now in Worf's family. It's possible the kid actor didn't want to come back, or had other work. I was quite impressed with his acting in this episode.

    I like that Troi had something solid to do in this episode. It occurred to me watching Troi's and Picard's conversations this episode that I like their relationship. They're both introverts, or so it seems to me. Picard trusts Troi in a way he doesn't trust anyone else. She understands his inward and contemplative nature much more than the others do.

    Why were Troi and Worf meeting in the computer core?

    Data emotion-spotting: "I do not sense the same feelings of absence that I associate with Lieutenant Yar." You're learning, Data!

    I also caught what Alex above did. Valles Marineris is unmistakable.

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